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  • Twins Linked To Cy Young Winner Robbie Ray


    John Bonnes

    Two of the top four free agent starting pitchers are now spoken for, but early this morning, the Twins were linked to the biggest remaining prize, AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. Not surprisingly, they are not alone.

    Image courtesy of © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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    The New York Post’s Joel Sherman also listed the Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Rangers and Angels as suitors for Ray’s services, and previously the Red Sox and Blue Jays had been mentioned. However, it’s worth noting that several of these teams have already signed free agent pitchers this offseason, perhaps limiting their interest. For instance, the Blue Jays reportedly now have an agreement with another of the other four premier pitchers on this list, Kevin Gausman. 

    On the other hand, who wouldn’t want to add Ray? Last year he posted a 2.84 ERA over 193.1 innings, striking out 11.5 per nine innings. Most importantly, the 30-year-old’s career struggles with his control completely disappeared: he walked only 2.4 batters per nine innings, after averaging 5.1 per nine from 2018-2020.

    If the Twins want to play, they’ll need to pay. MLBTradeRumors predicted Ray would receive a $130M contract, 5-year deal on the open market. Given some of the other contracts we’re seeing, that estimate may be a little high, but any deal would certainly exceed $100M. 

    What’s more, they’ll also likely need to move fast. The two premier pitchers who are at least very close to greements - Gausman and Max Scherzer - have done so in in the last 24 hours as teams and players scramble to get something done before MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on Wednesday. It is widely anticipate that event will lead to a work stoppage, effectively killing the offseason market for both sides. That urgency is further heightened by concerns that normally mundane details, like getting physicals done, will need to be completed by then for contracts to be valid. 

    The Twins entered the offseason with at least three spots in their starting rotation to fill, and as of yet have not signed any free agents. They did, however, reach an agreement yesterday with star center fielder Byron Buxton on a 7-year extension. But starting pitching remains the team’s biggest need, and the available arms are dwindling fast. Even beyond the top four arms, other highly attractive targets like Noah Syndegaard, Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, Anthony Desclafini and many others have signed within the last two weeks. 

     

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    The Twins need an ace if they are to be legitimate contenders in 2022.  Ray would fit the bill nicely but now, with a Dec. 1st deadline looming, you can practically guarantee a bidding war develops.  Does anyone on TD truly believe the Twins are capable of winning such a war?  I'd give it <1% chance.

    But there's another ace-type hurler available - Carlos Rodon.  He outpitched Ray last year when healthy.  Yes, health concerns have to be factored in, but the upside of this issue is that his market value will be far less than Ray or even Stroman.  Perhaps a 3 year/$60MM deal could get it done.  The team has the budget to get this done with perhaps $20MM leftover to fill some other holes in FA(paying Bux only $10MM in 2022 provides some added room in the budget).

    The rest of this offseason is the most critical test for Falvey and co.  Can they restore this team to contention in 2022? Signing Rodon comes with risk but to move the needle, this is exactly the type of move that any competent management should be willing to take. Wouldn't it be nice to see the Twins swoop in for once, rather than wait for the dust to settle before making their move?

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    Ray would be my #1 target Mike 8791, but Rodon at 3-years and $60 would be a great move and allow the Twins to have an "Ace" at the top of their rotation (if indeed Rodon is first half 2021 all year) while also allowing some young pitchers to develop and ascend to the major league roster.  My formula for the Twins pitching staff:  A Big FA signing like Ray or Rodon, a secondary signing like Jon Gray and a trade or two that brings in 2-3 additional SP's.  They need a minimum of FOUR SP's since Ryan/Ober are really just "one slot" in the rotation.  Now that Buxton is done, the Twins FO needs to pivot FAST and make some noise.  

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    I'll be honest: the Twins being "linked" to Ray does nothing for me. Should they be interested in the reigning Cy Young winner? Yes. Does it mean anything for them to be linked with him if he doesn't sign? No. Being linked to any of the top FA starters means very little if they can't sign one.

    Would love to get him. Will not be impressed with being linked to him if he goes elsewhere.

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    14 minutes ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    Ray would be my #1 target Mike 8791, but Rodon at 3-years and $60 would be a great move and allow the Twins to have an "Ace" at the top of their rotation (if indeed Rodon is first half 2021 all year) while also allowing some young pitchers to develop and ascend to the major league roster.  My formula for the Twins pitching staff:  A Big FA signing like Ray or Rodon, a secondary signing like Jon Gray and a trade or two that brings in 2-3 additional SP's.  They need a minimum of FOUR SP's since Ryan/Ober are really just "one slot" in the rotation.  Now that Buxton is done, the Twins FO needs to pivot FAST and make some noise.  

    FYI - Gray signed with the Rangers. 4 years for $56 million.  (I definitely missed a few signings that happened on Friday as well. Crazy how much action there was over the past 4 days.)

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    Twins Ace - Gray signed with the Rangers. 4 years for $56 million. (I definitely missed a few signings that happened on Friday as well. Crazy how much action there was over the past 4 days.)

    Believe Top Gunn meant Sonny Gray w/Reds, not Jon.  Sonny would be one of my favorite targets - like him a lot better than Jon and I believe he is owed $12MM for '22 and option for '23.  If Twins could swing another deal with A's or Marlins for one of their starters that would make for a formidable top 3!

    Tony/Rod:  I love watching Rodon but the failure of Chicago to offer raised concern, even if it is uninformed worry on my part.

    Yes, there is a red flag but Sox want to put Kopech into rotation, leaving Rodon as a luxury(in their view).  Sox blew it last year when they DFA'd Rodon but no one bit so they had him back on the cheap.  Rodon has had injury issues, including last year, but came back strong in last 2 outings in Sept.  Moderate risk, high reward(I'd rather sign Rodon than Ray to be a long term ace).  Let's see if FO can abandon that risk aversion to take this chance.

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    1 hour ago, TwinsAce said:

    FYI - Gray signed with the Rangers. 4 years for $56 million.  (I definitely missed a few signings that happened on Friday as well. Crazy how much action there was over the past 4 days.)

    That is too bad.  I would have liked Gray at 14mil over 4 years.  Gray and Ray plus our pitching prospects could have made a nice rotation.

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    1 hour ago, mike8791 said:

    Twins Ace - Gray signed with the Rangers. 4 years for $56 million. (I definitely missed a few signings that happened on Friday as well. Crazy how much action there was over the past 4 days.)

    Believe Top Gunn meant Sonny Gray w/Reds, not Jon.  Sonny would be one of my favorite targets - like him a lot better than Jon and I believe he is owed $12MM for '22 and option for '23.  If Twins could swing another deal with A's or Marlins for one of their starters that would make for a formidable top 3!

    Tony/Rod:  I love watching Rodon but the failure of Chicago to offer raised concern, even if it is uninformed worry on my part.

    Yes, there is a red flag but Sox want to put Kopech into rotation, leaving Rodon as a luxury(in their view).  Sox blew it last year when they DFA'd Rodon but no one bit so they had him back on the cheap.  Rodon has had injury issues, including last year, but came back strong in last 2 outings in Sept.  Moderate risk, high reward(I'd rather sign Rodon than Ray to be a long term ace).  Let's see if FO can abandon that risk aversion to take this chance.

    Top Gunn said "a secondary signing like Jon Gray" so I'm pretty sure they meant Jon, not Sonny.

    Rodon is an interesting case. More risk than I'd be willing to give 20M to. Not just because of the injuries (both elbow and shoulder injuries throughout his career is very concerning, though), but also because he's had 1 serious outlier of a season. He wasn't claimed last year because he wasn't worth claiming, but now you want to give him 20M a year for multiple years? No thanks.

    Gausman just got 22 a year after much more sustained success. Descalfini got 3 years 36M. He's a little older, but has had multiple above average seasons, unlike Rodon. Jon Gray got 4 years 56M and has also had more above average seasons than Rodon. ERod got 5/77. Verlander, Thor, Gausman, and Morton are the only guys to get 20M a year so far. Those were for 1+an option, 1, 5, and 1 years. All of them have far more established success than Rodon. He's exactly the type of pitcher I'd sit back and see how the market plays out and snag him late if he's trying to get 3/60 now. If he'd do 3/45 I'd take that, but not 3/60. Can't be afraid of any risk at all, but also can't ignore risk and pretend it doesn't matter. The Twins have enough high injury risk players on their team and in their system. Don't pay 20M a year to add another one who's only had 1 above average season.

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    5 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    Top Gunn said "a secondary signing like Jon Gray" so I'm pretty sure they meant Jon, not Sonny.

    Rodon is an interesting case. More risk than I'd be willing to give 20M to. Not just because of the injuries (both elbow and shoulder injuries throughout his career is very concerning, though), but also because he's had 1 serious outlier of a season. He wasn't claimed last year because he wasn't worth claiming, but now you want to give him 20M a year for multiple years? No thanks.

    Gausman just got 22 a year after much more sustained success. Descalfini got 3 years 36M. He's a little older, but has had multiple above average seasons, unlike Rodon. Jon Gray got 4 years 56M and has also had more above average seasons than Rodon. ERod got 5/77. Verlander, Thor, Gausman, and Morton are the only guys to get 20M a year so far. Those were for 1+an option, 1, 5, and 1 years. All of them have far more established success than Rodon. He's exactly the type of pitcher I'd sit back and see how the market plays out and snag him late if he's trying to get 3/60 now. If he'd do 3/45 I'd take that, but not 3/60. Can't be afraid of any risk at all, but also can't ignore risk and pretend it doesn't matter. The Twins have enough high injury risk players on their team and in their system. Don't pay 20M a year to add another one who's only had 1 above average season.

    With Rodon, I’d be more interested in overpaying in AAV and cutting down years and given his peak performance level, he may want that as well. 

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    7 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    With Rodon, I’d be more interested in overpaying in AAV and cutting down years and given his peak performance level, he may want that as well. 

    I'd do 1/20 or 1+an option/20, but I wouldn't go further than that. I wouldn't go into meltdown mode and call for the FO to be fired, but I'd call 3/60 a mistake. I'd call Rodon and offer him a Thor style 1/21 deal and he may be interested in that, but I wouldn't guarantee him multiple years at 20.

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    22 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    I'd do 1/20 or 1+an option/20, but I wouldn't go further than that. I wouldn't go into meltdown mode and call for the FO to be fired, but I'd call 3/60 a mistake. I'd call Rodon and offer him a Thor style 1/21 deal and he may be interested in that, but I wouldn't guarantee him multiple years at 20.

    Agreed, though I'd strongly consider two years at a high AAV if that's what it takes. The options are going off the board in a hurry and we have no indication the Twins will EVER hand out a 5+ year deal to a pitcher.

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    7 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    Agreed, though I'd strongly consider two years at a high AAV if that's what it takes. The options are going off the board in a hurry and we have no indication the Twins will EVER hand out a 5+ year deal to a pitcher.

    They're in a spot where they could certainly afford a 2 year deal with AAV for an arm. They should have plenty of guys on minimum deals the next 2 years as the prospects start arriving. So I wouldn't be overly upset with that. I can't say I'm super against them not giving out 5+ year deals to pitchers. Most of those deals are for high AAV (not many guys signing Dobnak style deals) and I just don't think that risk is worth it for a team with the Twins spending limitations (self inflicted or not they don't spend). If Falvine has built the pitching pipeline we all hope they have they and can become a Cleveland style pitching factory they should be able to contend for years as they can afford an offense to go along with that pitching, unlike Cleveland. To me the answer is always going to be developing pitching. If they can't do that there aren't enough short-term, high AAV contracts they can sign. But I'd be good with one this offseason to provide some stability.

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    39 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    They're in a spot where they could certainly afford a 2 year deal with AAV for an arm. They should have plenty of guys on minimum deals the next 2 years as the prospects start arriving. So I wouldn't be overly upset with that. I can't say I'm super against them not giving out 5+ year deals to pitchers. Most of those deals are for high AAV (not many guys signing Dobnak style deals) and I just don't think that risk is worth it for a team with the Twins spending limitations (self inflicted or not they don't spend). If Falvine has built the pitching pipeline we all hope they have they and can become a Cleveland style pitching factory they should be able to contend for years as they can afford an offense to go along with that pitching, unlike Cleveland. To me the answer is always going to be developing pitching. If they can't do that there aren't enough short-term, high AAV contracts they can sign. But I'd be good with one this offseason to provide some stability.

    I agree with all of this in a typical year but right now, this team is so upside-down with pitching that I'm willing to take more short-term risks to shore up the 2022 and possibly 2023 pitching staffs.

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    Ray, Kershaw and Stroman are the last three of the top tier. The question about Ray is whether this is an aberration or the new norm for him.  We have had other one year Cy Young winners who dropped back to normal after getting the award.  Ray's eras over his career (4.00 career) are 8.16/3.52/4.90/2.89/3.93/4.34/6.82 - 7.84 - 4.79/2.84 - does someone want to chart that?  2020 there were three teams so that is the reason for three figures.  

     

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    If the Twins do sign Ray, it is a contract for years, at least five. This makes it easier to blend in their pitching prospects; good news. It also means that the Twins could add a pitching prospect to sweeten the pot in a potential trade. I'm still thinking that Miami wants something we have and we could use one or two of their pitchers. Oakland also remains a real solid trade partner. A signing of Ray would really open the possibilities for adding less expensive but additional excellent pitching via trades. It is not a stategy that i expected due to the cost of Ray, Rodon, or Stroman but it would be wonderful.

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    Honestly, the "they’ll also likely need to move fast" part might be a bigger obstacle than the money. Both the Buxton and Donaldson deals dragged out for a painfully long time and that can't all be laid on the players. The club seems to waver between over-deliberation and outright indecisiveness at times.

    Also, hopefully Buxton's full no-trade clause broke the seal on the front office's refusal to include player friendly amenities to a deal. I know they've indicated in the past that they won't include opt-out clauses; if they want top free agents like the other clubs get, they have to act like the other clubs.

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    There are still lots of options out there for starters in the range of where I expect the Twins to play.  I think a trade for one is out there, a Pineda signing, and ........   I would actually be happy if the Twins just resigned Pineda before the lockout to a 2 year deal.  I am not as high on Ray as others.  I am fine if we sign him and fine if we don't.  The Twins front office met their critical objective with me in terms of getting Buxton resigned.  While last year was awful for the Twins FO in picking FA, they have had success there in the past.  as long as whoever they sign get a full spring training in, (meaning if they sign a starter during spring training, then that pitcher should start the season on the DL so they can get a more complete spring training in and be able to compete when they arrive in the Twin Cities). Then I am good.  

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    After Gausman went off the table for 5 years $110MM and Eduardo Rodriguez at 5 years $77MM without the Twins checking in on either, I'm crazy skeptical the Twins giving more than lip service here.

    Robbie Ray said "They called and offered 4 years and $60MM every day for 5 days in a row so my agent angrily told the Twins to stop getting new Google Voice numbers every time we block the previous one."

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    After this and Gausman, I'm pretty frustrated with the FO.  I assumed it was going to take $25M/year to sign either of them (and was perfectly happy with that pricepoint), so the fact that both went for less...

    Falvine is really betting on that pitching pipeline working out.

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    24 minutes ago, Cap&#x27;n Piranha said:

    After this and Gausman, I'm pretty frustrated with the FO.  I assumed it was going to take $25M/year to sign either of them (and was perfectly happy with that pricepoint), so the fact that both went for less...

    Falvine is really betting on that pitching pipeline working out.

    It was always going to need to work out for this team to win. They weren't going to win with free agents alone.

    But the prospect pitching pipeline can't be the ONLY source of top end pitching......

    Very disappointed. If they don't sign any quality free agents prior to the lock out, the local reporters better be hounding the team.

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    Fool  me once, shame on you. Fool me a half dozen teams, shame on me.

    How many times now since 2019 have we watched premier starting pitcher free agents sign for reasonable contracts like this one? In 2019 the narrative was just that they couldn't convince them to take their money. Are we going to hear that again with Gausman and Ray? They just couldn't stomach the opt-out, like they hesitated on Buxton's no-trade? 

    Perhaps we just need to accept that this front office doesn't believe in paying for pitching, no matter what they might say about pursuing high-end talent. 

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